Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't make me bash you with this sword of the Spirit...

There should be no doubt in the minds of my regular readers that I adore my wife. She is my life partner, best friend, soul mate, dream girl, supporter and confidant. Mrs. Tony C is a personal source of motivation that keeps me on my toes and razor she doesn't let me walk out of the house with the hair on the back of my head not combed or with a dryer sheet still stuck to my pants.

There's a pretty good age difference between us. Although I know Mrs. Tony C is far more spiritual at this point in her life than I was at the same point in mine, we're still at somewhat different levels overall. With time, I've mellowed and don't get near as excited about stuff as I once did. What I mean by that is I don't get upset about most things. With experience comes many various realizations, one being that getting mad or holding a grudge only results in adding stress to your own life. It really has no bearing on the other person...well, unless they work for you. So these days I rarely get fired up about something someone says or does.

When Mrs. Tony C is wound up about something or someone, nothing aggravates her more than my laissez-faire attitude either. As a matter of fact, she will often redirect her petulance at yours truly (gasp!)...usually resulting in name calling...very specific name calling. At my first mention of loving others as you love yourself or forgiveness...BAM!...I become Church Guy!

I'm quite sure my mental image of Church Guy (see left) is vastly different from Mrs. Tony C.

Mrs. Tony C: That (insert woman A) just burns me up! Does she not know everyone can see her throwing herself at (insert man A). He's just separated from (insert woman B). It's not like they're divorced.

Me: Can you believe that (with complete apathy never looking up from book).

Mrs. Tony C: They could work things out after all. I hope (woman B) doesn't find out about this...

Me: I do hope they work things out. I've always liked (man A) and (woman B). Divorce is awful.

Mrs. Tony C: You know all about (woman A) don't you?

Me: (book down, fully engaged) That was years ago! You were in grade school when I dated her!

Mrs. Tony C: Well I don't like her. Breaking people up and all.

Me: You don't even know anything is going on between (woman A) and (man A)! She's really not a bad person.

Mrs. Tony C: Why do you have to defend her like that! Things got ugly between you two I remember you saying.

Me: Yes...but that was a long time ago. I'm way past that and would never wish any bad on her.

Mrs. Tony C: we go...Church Guy is in the house! (mocking) I just love everybody. Everybody just loves me. Can't we all just get along like Jesus?

Me: That's not fair! I try to see the best in people and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Mrs. Tony C: Funny that only happens with females!

Me: Not true! (insert man B) was saying some pretty bad things about me at one point, and I don't hold any grudge about that. I love him as a brother...

Mrs. Tony C: Baloney! You don't give him the time of day at church!

Me: If you don't have anything good to say...

Mrs. Tony C: Where's that at in the Bible Church Guy?

Me: I believe it's in the NIV...besides, how did this get off on me?

Mrs. Tony C: I'm sorry Church Guy. I forgot you're above it all!

Me: (back to reading) If I'm the Church Guy, doesn't that make you the Church Lady?

Mrs. Tony C: Who?

Me: (sigh) Sorry...before your time...

If she reads past the first paragraph, I'm sure I'm going to hear it about this post...keep me in your prayers.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger stepped up big in the first round of this major...

I've never really been pro- or anti- Tiger Woods...but today I became a big fan.

Tiger Woods could have chosen to answer to only a civil legal system for his transgression and never been any worse for the wear in the long run. Come on! We've seen it happen time and time again with famous people caught with their hand in the cookie jar. One of the most recognized sports personalities in the world surely would have weathered a divorce and short- term loss of marketability. Look at Michael Jordan, Bill Clinton, Rudolph Giuliani, Hugh Grant and Prince Charles to name a few from recent past. All weathered the storm of public opinion and carried on with little to no change in their livelihood.

What Tiger Woods did today took unimaginable fortitude...because he didn't have to stand in front of the world and repent his wrong doings. Again, he would have been no worse for the wear if he hadn't and surely no less wealthy.

I believe this is worth watching regardless if you're a golf fan or not...

That's less than a minute of over seven minutes of apology where he humbly states...

"The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them. I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me."

Wow...that had to be tough.

I will in no way try to condone or defend Tiger's behavior. But, I've been in his shoes. No, not at that magnitude of world scrutiny, but it's never an easy thing to admit your failures as a human being if only in front of the most important people in your life...your family and close friends. He did that, and I greatly respect him for his courage.

We live in a cynical world, and there will be those who question his sincerity, motive and commitment to change. Some will root for Tiger to fail again for whatever reason we root for such things as a society. I'm not going to be in that group. If he never swings another golf club or pimps another shaving blade, I still hope Tiger stays true to his words today and becomes a better husband to his wife...a great father to his kids.

I believe that ultimately we are not judged by the successes in our life, but rather how we handled the adversities or weathered the inevitable storms.

That should be the major he stays focused on to win...and Jesus would make the best caddy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's just too good to be true...

Are my ears hearing correctly? Did I read that right? A U.S. Senator is calling it quits because nothing is getting done in Washington? Egad!

Senator Evan Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, will not seek re-election for a third term because nothing is getting done in Congress. I won't paraphrase...get it straight from the jacka...excuse's mouth:

That could quite possibly be the smartest thing I've ever heard a Senator say....with apologies to Tennessee native son Howard Baker.

Forget party affiliation. Leave demographics out of it too. Senator Bayh is just admitting what American taxpayers have known for quite some time now...the system is broken, and our hard earned tax dollars are being used to wage partisan war while special interest groups get richer and fatter.

Don't let me forget to mention our beloved media in this production either. What's the first story they spin from such a monumental announcement? The Democrats are in trouble now! Whatever will they do losing yet another Senate seat? Like it really matters. The balance of power has been swinging back and forth for decades with the same results...more federal spending, a larger federal government, and increasing losses of constitutional liberties. It doesn't matter if the donkeys or the pachyderms are in charge. The instigating media needs continuing partisan conflict to keep ratings and ultimately revenue.

Senator Bayh went as far as to say, "If people are just pursuing narrow tactical political advantage, vote them out. If people are being rigidly ideological and unwilling to accept reasonable compromise, vote them out." What?! Leave it up to voters?! Have you gone mad Senator?

There will be momentum to break the gridlock we call Congress now. A window of opportunity has opened with the lead being a very unlikely character...a politician. Our country needs term limits for Congress, and we need them put in place now! Such legislation would send a clear message from our elected representatives to the electorate that they are serious about ending the idiocy that's been going on for years. Let's not get greedy for wholesale changes...term limits would be an excellent start to correct longer reaching problems.

Let's put our partisan politics aside and shut the extremes from both ends of the political spectrum up for a change. Call or write your Senator or Representative and tell them you are firmly behind term limits for Congress...and they should be too.

We always have the right to impose term limits at the ballot box if Congress doesn't have the guts to do it themselves...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Who's laughing at Al Gore now...

The Weather Channel has surpassed the Food Network and Speed Channel in viewership these past few months in the South...and that's darn near sacrilege round these parts!

One of the great pleasures about living in the Appalachian Mountains is the four distinct season of each calender year. After living in Hawaii for over 3 years, I started to miss the change in seasons that required more than just wearing a shirt or not wearing a shirt as the only gauge of differing. That applied to guys only of course...well, at least in most places.

(What's all this cold, white stuff?! Is this the Twilight Zone of something?!)

Coming back to East Tennessee that first fall was like a warm, blanketing hug from a relative you don't see very often when you visit. Cool crisp air, beautifully colored trees and layered clothing woke back up the hillbilly in me rather quickly.

Still...I nearly froze to death that first winter back.

Now that 20 years have past since my return, I've completely acclimatized to unpredictable springs, hot muggy summers, transitioning autumns and typically mild winters. I distinctly remember how unpredictable Spring can be because I left for Hawaii in April 1987 leaving behind better that a foot of snow. There was another big Spring snow in 1996 with over a foot and maybe one more since then that I can't quite pinpoint the year...but things like that just don't happen too often in the South...and that's a good thing because we lose our freakin' minds over the white stuff.

2010 has so far been a banner year in terms of snow fall. Now I know my Yankee...excuse me...Northern readers can't quite understand the big deal we make about a little snow. But there's a psychological phenomenon in the South know as White Panic (and no, there's no racial connotations associated, so stop's just wrong).

At the first hint of a dusting in the long-range weather forecast...White Panic spreads. First, grocery stores are emptied of milk, bread and sandwich meats as people prepare for the oncoming natural disaster. Local hardware chains quickly sell out of generators, kerosene heaters and the half dozen or so snow shovels they stocked. Salt is again traded as a commodity on open markets as if the East India Trading Company were back in business on the high seas. That's the initial phase.

As the impending blizzard draws near, most all productive work not associated with storm preparation comes to a grinding halt. In most every building of business or industry, faces can be seen pressed against glass...posted as sentries to give warning of the first flake sighting. Most schools are closed as a precautionary measure because the safety of the children is vastly more important than the school calendar running into mid-June. White Panic is reaching a pinnacle stage.

SNOW! Immediately the skills required to differentiate when to press the gas pedal and the brake pedal are lost by large numbers of people...even those not yet driving or with no intention of driving in the near future. Workers area wide take to cars like pilots scrambling for cockpits during an air alert drill. The race for home/safety results in both gridlock and fender benders of biblical proportions (well, if there had been cars in the Bible). White Panic is now at fever pitch! Local economies shut down...lives hang in the balance.

Massive power outages result in a near simultaneous sliding of thermostats to the far right of the dial. White Panic creates a mindset that if electricity should be lost, better to start with a higher temperature inside, so it takes longer for the house to cool and hypothermia to take hold. Quilts and blankets from bridal and baby showers long past are pulled out of packaging to prepare for extra sources of warmth. Most people are overcome with deep regret for passing on the fireplace option while housebuilding. The finger pointing begins as tempers flare.

Teenagers are affected by White Panic in a more unique way as walls close in and claustrophobia runs unchecked. Power outages create a condition known as White Panic Zombie as teenagers sit in front of blank flat screens with gaming remotes in hand and thumbs clicking away...their minds incapable of grasping the lack of actual game action. Some are found by light switches caught in a loop of flipping on and off, again and again, incoherently frozen as the proverbial and literal light bulbs refuse to come on.

White Panic isn't pretty. Typically, Southerners only have to deal with the phenomenon once every 7 or 8 years. Sledding has been banned in a lot of communities in an effort to discourage snow wishes or dreams of white winter wonderlands. I'll bet you won't find an athlete in this years Winter Olympics from the South...we don't even watch the Winter Olympics is fear of spreading unnecessary panic if someone confused a scene from Vancouver with the local news. Yes, we remember Orson Wells and the War of the Worlds radio story...and we're not taking chances!

The cliche of the snowball in hell is not as popular in the South as other places for a couple of reasons. First, hell is a bad word. Second, snowballs are synonymous with that bad word down here. With snow in today's forecast...I'm sure there are a few other bad words flying around everywhere because this will be our fourth snow in less than two months!

This global warming thing is killing us down South...we just weren't prepared.

Monday, February 8, 2010

When in doubt...always go with C.

Leave it to our federal government to take a simple task and complicate it to the point of ridiculous... not to mention outrageously expensive.

There are far too many examples that support that statement, but none as fresh as the upcoming 2010 Census. Before I get started...did you happen to catch the Super Big Game...commercial Sunday night in the second half?

That's $2.5 million of our tax dollars spent in 30 seconds... even impressive for today's standard of federal spending. 30! To beat all, the commercial wasn't even memorable. No explosions, kid-generated humor, body function references, partial nudity or even sexual innuendo. Just blah...$2.5 million.

The Census is directed by the U.S. Constitution in
Article 1, Section 2 and the 14th Amendment as a means to establish and correct representation by state population in the the House of Representatives. By law, the Census Bureau (Department of Commerce) must count everyone and submit state population totals to the U.S. President by December 31, 2010. States within the Union would then receive the results the spring of the following year.

It is further controlled by Title 13 of the U.S. Code. If you're a big data geek like me, be sure to check out the U.S. Census Bureau page for numbers galore. Of course, that's where the outrageousness begins. The Constitution only directs a count be conducted for representation purposes, but our Romanesque-type government found a biblical parallel to collect additional data for 'informational purposes'...render unto Caesar...

By statute, the Bureau of Census is forbidden to share information collected during a Census with any other branch of government to include the CIA, FBI and IRS. Personal information only becomes available after 75 years rendering it practically irrelevant...well...irrelevant to anyone besides my 95 year old grandmother who was a feisty 15 when the soon to be released information from 1930 hits the streets. Hey...15 was the new 30 back then...

Besides the $2.5 million dropped during the Big Game, you'll hear a lot of advertising across all medias concerning the 10-question survey and how important it is to complete so your community can rake in its share of the $400 million in tax money available for improvement projects. Let's see...this should be the first Census to top 300 million people legally in the United States...I've got a proposal. How about just sending each LEGAL person in the country a $1 million, divvy up the other $100 million per community population, and let us decide how best to spend our own funds in our respective communities? The Census Bureau would save millions in advertising (this stuff sells itself!) and have absolutely no problem getting people to complete the survey.

I promise I'll use part of my family's $4 million to put up a new traffic light if my city needs one before have my word.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Compounding interest should be somewhere in the Top 10...

Finish this thought...The 10 greatest (blanks) of all times.

Most of you are probably like me and things like movies, songs or books immediately come to mind, or maybe even more specifics topics like top grossing films, love songs or novels. Some of you might even fall into the sport teams, business mergers, and Marvel comics group...but then you're probably afraid to come out of the dorkster closet thinking you'll end up with a power-wedgie.

Such lists are subjective to varying degrees. Although I'm an avid Lakers fan, it's hard to argue the 1995/96 Chicago Bulls that went 72 wins to only 10 losses are not the greatest team in NBA history. A little subjective but plausible. It would be easier to contest Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones as the VH1 Greatest Rock Song of all times...I mean it just seems like the Beatles or Elvis should have the honor to me...making this example very much subjective.

Allow me to get cerebral for a moment (at the risk of a wedgie). What if the (blank) was the word ideas.

Have you ever stopped to contemplate what the the single greatest idea of all times might actually be? Wow! It's overwhelming near the scale of infinity. I can only begin to imagine the debates and outrage should a list ever be compiled with a clear, consensus number 1. I'll bet it would top even Avatar (eye roll). Do say!

The thought of the greatest ideas of all time came to mind this weekend, while I was trying to decipher the whole idea/ideal context for the teenager. God bless her...she knocks the top off standardized testings and makes very good grades...but somehow she struggles with a lot actually being two words. Ahem...according to my Facebook News Feed, she's not alone on that one by a long shot either.

Now you're thinking, as a Christian, I would most assuredly put a idea from the Bible in play at the top, but I actually don't think anything biblical should count because all such things come from the inspiration of God. Wait...wait...yes, I know ALL things come from God, but I would argue that God probably didn't directly inspire the lyrics to the aforementioned Stones' song and thus there should be a category of distinct ideas not drawn from the written Word.

See how difficult such a task might be for a person of faith? But, I'm convinced the readers of Tony C Today are up to the task, so I'm stating a challenge. What do you consider the greatest single idea of all times? The idea can be an invention, a theory or a concept. Scientific, social or abstract. Open your minds me what you've got!

Of course, my shy readers can play along by email at, and I'll gladly post you response...anonymously.

Let me throw a few out just for fodder: All men are created equal, the wheel, relativity, and the concept of value. Remember, nothing that can be directly taken from the Bible...or the Koran if that's how you roll. Also, don't get to philosophical with this exercise. Yes, gravity has always been around...but Newton had to compile the idea of gravity into a working theory. Yes, electricity is a natural occurrence in lightning...but Volta discovered the chemical reactions that produced the first electric cell.

Please don't tell me you thought Ben Franklin originated the idea of electricity...that would be just too American of you.